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Hi I was wondering what I should look for when choosing a preamp for the Shure SM58.The singing style is heavy rock so plenty of headroom is what I am looking for aswell as overall warmth.Ive read that the SM58 needs a lot of gain to open up so something around 60db input gain?

Would I be better off with a small mixer or a deticated preamp before it his the soundcard?Thanks for the input.


JoeH Thu, 03/01/2007 - 00:09

If you're using any generic console made in the last 10 years or so, you'll probably do fine. Mackie VLZ and ONYX series are more than adequate for this task, so are many of the other ones out there: Yamaha, Tascam, Soundcraft, etc.

On the other hand, if you want to start experimenting with other pre's, there's a lot of afforable stuff out there. I just reviewed the AEA TRP (The Ribbon Preamp) for an upcoming review, and in chatting with Wes Dooley about it at AEA, he made an interesting obsevation: The TRP isn't just for Ribbons, actually. With NO Phantom power, and so much available clean gain, it can work on a ton of other mics, especially dynamics.

Although most, if not all dynamic mics can run just fine with phantom power present, they are arguably better off without it. (in the old days, they actually used to DEMAGNETIZE transformers that were exposed to Phantom power over long periods of time.) There's also next to no load with the TRP (input impedance is up to, or over 18,000K, so there's virutally NO LOAD on the mics it is amplifying. )

I haven't tried it yet, but I'd be very interested in hearing an SM58 or 57 into something like the TRP - no phantom power, tons of gain, and virtually no input impedance loading.

THEN you'd really hear what the mic is capable of, I'm sure. (Read some posts on here from Ms RemyRad about SM58's....she LOVES 'em. )

Cucco Thu, 03/01/2007 - 06:26

Hey Joe -

I'm VERY interested in reading your review.

I must say that I've heard a 57 through the TRP and I wasn't that impressed. It's friggin great on ribbons, but on 57s, it made them sound bright...maybe a bit edgy.

Luke6 -
Joe's probably right - decent console pres should suffice. However, if you're looking for that last bit of possibility that your console pres can't deliver, a high-quality pre capable of lots of voltage would be a great addition.

I must admit, one of my favorite pres for 57/58 is the Focusrite ISA428. The variable load is nice and can sculpt the sound of your 57/58.

Good luck - let us know what you decide.


BobRogers Thu, 03/01/2007 - 07:32

The 58 is my go to live mic, so my first reaction is to go with your console preamps or look into a clone of one of the old vintage, high end console preamps A 58 is supposed to sound like a 58; I would not go very far afield trying to shape its sound. But I'll definitely be interested in your experiences.